The Bombay High Court said recently that the condition of children’s homes in Maharashtra reflects the state’s failure in running them. The court has now asked the government to inform them about the steps taken to safeguard the interests of minors living in such homes.
The court was hearing a suo motu public interest litigation (PIL) registered on the basis of a letter by a judge of the high court’s Aurangabad bench to the Chairman of the Juvenile Justice Board. The letter, dated August 9, 2016, drew on articles published in various newspapers about the alleged rape of a 13-year-old girl at a children’s home at Parbani.
The judge had expressed concerns over the conditions in which orphaned children were being treated at such homes. The letter was forwarded by the Juvenile Justice Board chairman to the Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court, who then converted the issue into a PIL.
“The letter suggests that every children’s home in the region is required to comply with the provisions of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act. On going through news articles and the said letter, we feel that there is total failure of the stakeholders, including the state government, in addressing the issue. In the circumstances, we issue a notice to the State of Maharashtra through the Secretary of the Women’s and Child Development Department,” said Justice S S Kemkar.
The court has appointed senior counsel Mihir Desai as amicus curiae (friend of the court) to assist the court in the matter.
The court said “While filing the reply, the state is directed to submit the details about the condition of various children’s homes in the state of Maharashtra and the steps that have been taken for improving the conditions of such homes and to safeguard of the interest of the minor children.” The matter will be heard on November 28.